Ali Al Habsi out of Asian Cup with injury

MUSCAT, Dec 25 – Oman’s goalkeeping great Ali al Habsi is out of the Sultanate’s squad for the Asian Cup 2019 in the UAE with injury, the team officials announced. The star player will miss the January 5-February 1 continental showpiece after suffering an injury on his left thigh, the medical reports said. According to the specialist doctors, Al Habsi will require three weeks period for treatment. Consequently, coaching staff decided to replace Ali with Ammar al RAshidi.
“The injury is one of the sad moments that occur to a player. Just imagine the injury is stopping you from an important tournament that you had been waiting for to take part. However, I am confident that my Omani team-mates will achieve our dreams and goals in the Asian Cup,” Ali said on his Twitter account.
Al Habsi suffered the injury while playing for Al Hilal against Al Ahli in a Saudi Premier League game on Friday. The disappointing news for the Sultanate’s football fans got the social media and media websites busy in the country.
The first GCC player to play in the English Premier League, Al Habsi enjoys a legendary status in the region.
Most of the fans feel that Oman will seriously miss the former Bolton Wanderers goalkeeper in the Asian Cup.
Al Habsi also missed the last edition of Gulf Cup in Kuwait due to commitments with Saudi club Al Hilal. But his replacement Fayez al Rushaidi had rose to the occasion for the Sultanate who clinched the crown.
Oman’s Dutch coach Pim Verbeek has opted for Ammar al Rashidi — who keeps the goal for Saudi Pro League side Al Ain — as the replacement for Ali. Ammar will join as the team’s third goalkeeper after Fayez al Rushaidi and Ahmed al Rawahi.
Al Rashidi, 30, has 20 previous appearances for Oman.
Al Habsi, who had became the best goalkeeper in the Arabian Gulf Cup four times, participated in three editions of AFC Asian Cup in 2004, 2007 and 2015.
Meanwhile, the Red Warriors continued their camp in the UAE to gear up for the Asian championship. The current camp will include three friendly matches. The first match will be against India on December 27, second match against Australia on December 30 and last preparatory match will be against Thailand on January 2. Oman will open their Asian Cup campaign against Uzbekistan in Sharjah on January 9.